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Cards celebrate homecoming in grand style

Post Independent/Kelley Cox
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PARACHUTE – The hard-hitting Cardinal defense forced three fumbles and Danny Manzanares rushed for 160 yards, lifting Grand Valley in its homecoming game over Rangely, 13-7, in its first Class A Western Slope League action of the year Friday night.With the score locked at 7-all and 10 minutes left in the game, Grand Valley (3-0 overall, 1-0 WSL) marched 66 yards with the help of a 20-yard pass from Richard Gallegos to Colton Cowan and runs by Manzanares. On a third-and-1 situation, Gallegos, who was playing with a broken right toe and sprained left ankle, ran for his second touchdown of the game to give the Cardinals the win.

After Grand Valley’s defense made a stop and forced Rangely (1-2 overall, 0-1 WSL) to punt back to the Cardinals, Grand Valley put together another impressive drive, but this one ended in a fumble of their own, giving Rangely one more chance to score from its own 28. Two plays into the Panthers’ drive, Kalen Brady tired to pass to Tom Willis, but a hard hit jolted the ball onto the ground, leaving it to be picked up by Derrick Maxfield.Grand Valley forced two fumbles in the third quarter, each time with big hits knocking the ball loose. The first came when Jesse Forney nailed Brady, and Dillon Smuin recovered the fumble. The Cardinals couldn’t capitalize on that turnover, but they did on the next.

After a 30-yard pass from Brady to Willis was knocked free by Grand Valley’s defense on a hard tackle, Tyler Harris recovered the ball to set up Grand Valley’s winning drive.”It feels great,” Manzanares said of forcing three fumbles as a team. “It just gives our offense another chance to go out there and do what we know we can. It’s just a great boost to the team.”The Cardnials offense moved 160 yards thanks to Manzanares, whose feet never seemed to stop moving. Manzanares barreled through the Panther defense, zigging past them on the outside or, if he couldn’t shake them, carrying would-be tacklers with him.



“It’s just the way I’ve always been taught: Keep those feet pumping and the yards will come with it,” the senior said.Rangely scored first when Brady connected with Stephen Boleng on a 36-yard touchdown pass to cap the Panthers’ first drive, putting Rangely up 7-0 with 1:48 remaining in the first quarter.

Grand Valley took a few possessions to get the ball moving, but in the meantime, the Cardinal defense stood its ground. Cole Kraft sacked Brady on a third-and-short, forcing Delta to punt. The punt bounced off of Derrick Maxfield’s chest and was recovered by Panther Tim Willis at Grand Valley’s 27-yard line. Rangely backed up 5 yards on a false start and had a touchdown called back on a holding call. Manzanares nailed Brady for no gain and the Panthers had to punt.Then it was Grand Valley’s turn to score. The Cardinals drove the ball 80 yards in 4:56, ending in a 1-yard Richard Gallegos touchdown run. The drive was highlighted by a 25-yard Tyler Jensen reception from Gallegos and 46 yards on the ground for Manzanares. Gallegos finished the game with 62 yards in the air and two rushing TDs. Jensen totaled 42 yards on two receptions. Jensen also showed an impressive boot in the game as the punter. He never once received a clean snap to his hands, but always managed to get a handle on the ball and send it deep into Rangely’s territory.


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